Shortly before 5 pm on June 21, staff at Sears Canada headquarters in Toronto received invitations to two separate meetings, a now-former employee says. One group was asked to arrive and register at 7:45 am for an 8:15 meeting on June 22 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The other group was asked to go to the Fairmont Royal York Hotel.
“At first, I didn’t think much of it but then everyone said it was mandatory,” says the source, who spoke to Yahoo Canada Finance on the condition of anonymity. “Each person had a location and time. And the email said if you went to the wrong place, you’d be redirected.”
The source says around 300 Sears Canada head office employees assembled in a Convention Centre meeting room with rows of chairs this morning. The former employee also reported company phones and electronics had been disabled. At 8:40 am, Sears Canada Chief Operations Officer Becky Penrice addressed the group of employees.
“She came in and spoke for about five minutes,” the source states. “She said as of today, we are terminated. They took our badges and IDs and company phones.”
Also on June 22, the same day the company filed for creditor protection, the group not summoned to the Convention Centre found themselves at a strategy meeting at the Fairmont Hotel, where breakfast was reportedly provided.
“I talked to one of my colleagues at the other location; there was food and stuff for them but we didn’t even get water,” they said. “Some came in from Halton (approx. 60 km away) just to go right back home again. One of my colleagues who was let go had worked at Sears for over 35 years and another for almost 20.”
In a press release, the beleaguered retailer today reported that 2,900 jobs would be cut country-wide. The press release also says the company would “work to complete its restructuring in a timely fashion and hopes to exit CCAA protection as soon as possible in 2017, better positioned to capitalize on the opportunities that exist in the Canadian retail marketplace.” For a full list of locations being closed, click here.
Details of remuneration for terminated employees have not yet been disclosed to them by the company.
“We don’t know what kind of compensation we’re going to get yet,” the source says. “We got a generic package saying personalized letters would be sent to us along with our belongings at our desks.”